|Publication number||US7911671 B2|
|Application number||US 11/801,015|
|Publication date||Mar 22, 2011|
|Filing date||May 8, 2007|
|Priority date||May 10, 2006|
|Also published as||US20090015899|
|Publication number||11801015, 801015, US 7911671 B2, US 7911671B2, US-B2-7911671, US7911671 B2, US7911671B2|
|Inventors||David J. Rabb|
|Original Assignee||The Ohio State University|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (78), Non-Patent Citations (89), Classifications (11), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims all of the benefits of, and priority to, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/799,285, filed: May 10, 2006. Application Ser. No. 60/799,285 is titled Apparatus and Method For Providing True Time Delay in Optical Signals Using Spherical Fourier Cell and is incorporated herein in its entirety.
The invention generally relates to an optical true time delay (TTD) device. One exemplary embodiment utilizes a spherical Fourier cell. In one application, an optical TTD device may be used to provide TTDs for one or more individual optical signals within a plurality (e.g., matrix) or array of optical signals. However, additional applications of the apparatus and method are also possible and contemplated.
Devices that produce optical TTDs can be used for the steering of radar phased arrays, transversal filtering, and other optical signal processing applications. Electronically implementing TTDs is generally impractical because such implementation requires long lengths of strip lines, waveguides, or coaxial cable, which are expensive, bulky, and temperature sensitive. Because long paths are comparatively easy to obtain optically, photonic systems provide a means of obtaining a combination of the beam agility of array systems and wide bandwidth. Approaches to TTD devices tend to fall into two categories: those using fibers and those using long free-space paths. Some fiber approaches use multiple optical switches or broadcast the light over multiple possible paths at once. In addition, wavelength-division-multiplexing schemes have recently been developed by use of fiber Bragg gratings.
Free-space systems have used multiple optical switches for switching the beams between sequential optical paths. These optical switches are usually liquid-crystal based. Another type of free-space system includes a TTD device that uses a multiple-pass optical cell with refocusing mirrors.
An optical TTD device that is based on a Fourier-optic arrangement is provided. One embodiment provides an apparatus for introducing a true time delay in optical signals which includes: an input array for inputting an array of light beams; at least a portion of a lens; a plurality of micromirrors located at a distance away from the lens that is approximately equal to the focal length of the lens; and one or more mirrors located at a distance away from the lens that is approximately equal to the focal length of the lens. In addition, the embodiment includes: one or more delay blocks, at least a portion of which are located at a distance away from the lens that is approximately equal to the focal length of the lens. In one embodiment, the micromirrors include a plurality of controllable elements for directing one or more light beams in the array of light beams through the lens and onto either a mirror or a delay block. A set of input beams are repeatedly Fourier-transformed and inverse-transformed to obtain a TTD. In the Fourier transform plane, time delays are introduced.
In one exemplary embodiment, the proposed system provides a TTD device for an input array of light beams and independently controls the amount of delay each light beam receives relative to a given bias delay for the system. This exemplary system has applications for phased array radars where beam steering can be done by delaying signals going to the different antenna elements by various amounts relative to one another. By implementing TTD, as opposed to phase shifting, the usable bandwidth is greatly increased.
Properties of an optical Fourier transform and its effects when considering light as rays and as Gaussian beams are provided herein. A spherical lens and corresponding equations showing how to use the spherical lens for a Fourier transform is also provided. In general, light beams pass through this spherical lens multiple times in a specific pattern. In various embodiments, mirrors are set up around the sphere to provide a desired bounce pattern. Additionally, in several exemplary embodiments, a two-dimensional fiber array at the input and microelectromechanical system (MEMS) chips are provided at subsequent image planes. At the Fourier transform planes, mirrors having two sections—one a flat mirror and the other a delay device, such as, for example, a block, a lens train or a mirror train that has a delay associated therewith—are provided. MEMS pixels may be used to control whether a light beam is delayed or whether the light beam is directed to the flat mirror, which is a bias (null) delay mirror.
An optical Fourier transform 100 is shown in
When looking at this transform as it affects light beams there are three main principals: i) first, for a thin lens approximation, light beams passing through the center are not refracted, ii) second, light beams diverging from a point source at one of the focal planes (the object plane 120 or Fourier transform plane 130) are parallel after passing through the lens 110, and iii) third, parallel rays passing through the lens converge on a point in one of the focal planes.
With reference to
If a flat mirror 305 (
In certain exemplary implementations, light beams coming out of fibers, which closely match Gaussian profiles may be used. The Fourier transform of a Gaussian light beam 450 at its waist is another Gaussian beam at its waist. This situation is depicted in
The relationship between the input spot 420 radius and the output spot 430 radius can be found for a particular focal length, f, and the wavelength of the light, λ. The relationship is shown in equation (1).
If a flat mirror (not shown) is placed at the transform plane 430 the light beam comes to a waist again at the object plane 480 with the same radius w1 as the input spot 420. Both light beams and Gaussian light beams are imaged back at the object plane 480 with magnification −1. Since the system is symmetric about the lens 410, the same could be said if the beam originated at the transform plane 430 and there were a mirror (not shown) at the object plane 480.
Another exemplary apparatus for introducing a true time delay in optical signals using a Fourier cell is disclosed and includes: an input array for inputting an array of light beams; at least a portion of a lens; a plurality of micromirrors located at a distance away from at least a portion of a lens that is approximately equal to the focal length of the lens; one or more mirrors located at a distance away from the at least a portion of a lens that is approximately equal to the focal length of at least a portion of a lens. In one embodiment, the one or more mirrors are aligned to induce a delay in the light beam signal by folding one or more light beams back into the Fourier cell.
An exemplary method for introducing a true time delay into an optical signal is also illustrated, which includes: bouncing an array of light beams off of a first micromirror; adjusting one or more pixels on the micromirror so that light beams incident on the one or more pixels are directed through at least a portion of a lens onto a first mirror or a first delay block having a first set delay; bouncing at least a portion of the light beams off of a second micromirror; adjusting one or more pixels on the second micromirror so that light beams incident on the one or more pixels are directed through at least a portion of the lens onto a second mirror or second delay block having a second set delay; and repeating any of the previous steps until the desired delay has been introduced into the optical signal.
Still yet, exemplary embodiments include a true time delay device for an optical signal using a Fourier cell that include: means for bouncing an array of light beams off of a first micromirror; means for adjusting one or more pixels on the micromirror so that light beams incident on the one or more pixels are directed through at least a portion of a lens onto a first mirror or a first delay block having a first set delay; means for bouncing the array of light beams off of a second micromirror; and means for adjusting one or more pixels on the second micromirror so that light beams incident on the one or more pixels are directed through at least a portion of the lens onto a second mirror or second delay block having a second set delay.
In some exemplary embodiments, a spherical lens or a portion thereof may be used.
Using this system matrix, the principal planes 520, 530 can be found. Equations (3) and (4) provide their locations, where p1 is the distance in front of the spherical lens 510 to the front principal plane 520 and p2 is the distance from the back of the spherical lens 510 to the back principal plane 530. Additionally, the dimensions p1 and p2 are shown in FIGS. (3) and (4).
Based on equations (3) and (4), the front and back principal planes 520, 530 are a distance R inside the spherical lens 510, meaning they are both at the center. If an input 540 is located at a distanced from the front principal plane 520, the Fourier transform 530 can be found a distance f from the back principal plane 530, where f is the focal length of the spherical lens 510.
The focal length of the spherical lens 510 can be calculated using equation (5) below.
The focal planes, i.e., the object plane 560 and the Fourier transform plane 570, should be outside of the spherical lens 510 (f>R) and thus, the focal length should not be negative. Assuming free space around the sphere lens 510, the refractive index, n, of the sphere lens may be between 1 and 2. Typical flat lenses have a single optical axis that is normal to the front and back surfaces; a spherical lens has an infinite number of axes going through the center that are normal to both surfaces. Along any of these axes, the principal planes 520, 530 are in the center of the spherical lens 510 with focal planes 560, 570 a distance, f from the center on either side of the sphere lens 510.
Exemplary systems can be configured to handle several input light beams, coming in from a fiber array at the input. The array of input light beams may be parallel to each other. Considering only the center of each light beam we can use the light beams to describe how light beams propagate through the system.
The light beams are at relatively the same distance from the Fourier mirror's normal as they were in
Flat mirror 702, 704 and 706 in the image planes, i.e., the planes where the light beams a-p are separate and distinct may be replaced with MEMS devices. A MEMS chip or device includes an array of micromirrors (e.g., pixels) that can tip to various angles responsive to a control signal. Other embodiments, having fixed, or permanently tipped micromirrors are also contemplated. Permanently tipped micromirrors may be used in, for example, signal processing and transversal filtering, where the delays are fixed. The arrangement and pitch of the array of pixels is selected to match the array of input light beams, such that each light beam is incident on the center of one of the micromirrors or pixels. This is illustrated in
Just as the even numbered mirrors 702, 704 and 706, MEMS 902, 904, and 906 direct the light beams back through the spherical lens. The pixel tips 910 however, may independently change the destination of the Fourier transform for one or more particular light beams.
A flat, or 0, tip angle may be used at, for example, MEMS 904 to reflect a light beam from the top of mirror 1003 to the bottom of mirror 1005 or alternatively from the bottom of mirror 1003 to the top of mirror 1005. A tip angle +θ may be used at, for example, MEMS 904 to direct a light beam to the top of mirror 1003 to the top of mirror 1005. A −θ tip angle may be used, for example, to direct a light beam from the bottom of mirror 1003 onto the bottom of mirror 1005.
Possible pixel normals 1010 a through 1010 g are shown in
If the desired delay is too long to be accomplished in a dielectric block, the delay may be accomplished by use of a lens train. In an effort to reduce space, longer delays may also be obtained by folding the beam or array through the spherical lens multiple times. It is also possible to provide delays through use of optics outside of the switching engine, or spherical Fourier cell.
Long desired delays can, for example, be obtained by folding the light beam back into the spherical lens. Folding the light beam back through the system generally refers to a bounce path that results in the light beam retracing at least a portion of its path. The folded light beam behaves optically in a manner consistent with the flat null cell mirror. This means that after each additional bounce, one MEMS segment is imaged with a −1 magnification onto the next MEMS segment.
If a delay is not desired the MEMS 1302 pixel is tipped so that the light beam is directed to mirror 1303 and then is imaged with a negative magnification onto MEMS 1304. If a delay is desired the MEMS 1302 pixel is tipped so that the light beam is directed to mirror 1305. Mirror 1305 has two segments, 1305 a and 1305 b. Mirror segment 1305 a is a plain, flat mirror that has its normal so that the negative image of the beam on MEMS 1302 is incident on 1307 a, which is also a flat two segment mirror. Mirror 1307 a has a normal that causes the light beam from 1305 a to be imaged onto mirror 1309. This much of the beam path is shown in
For delays longer than those obtainable using glass blocks, but too short for using the folding light beam method, external folded lens trains may be used. One such exemplary lens train is illustrated in
Depending on the number of delays desired, a specific number of bounces through the system are provided. The number of delays possible, Nd, is related to the number of MEMS segments, Nm, as specified in equation 6.
In any situation the first and last MEMS segments are two-state (although three-state MEMS also work; there would just be an unused tip position) and the rest are three-state MEMS.
An advantage of this particular exemplary system is that the total volume can be quite small, due to the beams overlapping throughout the system. In addition, because the lens is spherical, it can be used from any direction, allowing several systems to be cascaded around the sphere.
In a practical case there would likely be many more mirror segments around the sphere. For example, over 100 mirror segments may be provided in a single plane. This would be done to keep the angle of incidence going through the spherical lens small enough to make the paraxial equations used valid and reduce beam aberrations.
While the present invention has been illustrated by the description of embodiments thereof, and while the embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicant to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. For example, components and component relationships can be changed without changing the substantive functions performed by the components and component relationships described herein. Therefore, the inventive concept, in its broader aspects, is not limited to the specific details, the representative apparatus, and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of the applicant's general inventive concept.
The systems described herein using a spherical lens is only a subset of systems that can use an optical Fourier transform to two treat different beams differently in the Fourier transform plane (e.g to provide a delay or not). Because all the input beams coincide in one of two places on the Fourier side, beams can be treated differently based on one going to one place and another going to the other and then separate the beams back into the original input arrays for further processing.
Other optical systems such as, for example, those having thin lenses, thick lenses, lens systems or mirror systems may be used to implement the Fourier transforms disclosed herein. As such, the invention is not limited to spherical lenses. In addition, although the example discloses MEMS with tilting micromirrors/pixels, embodiments using any spatial light modulator that switches beams in any of two or three directions may be used. In addition, this invention would work if the MEMS only had two tip angles, however, it would have more components.
In addition, as previously mentioned, the micromirror arrays on the MEMS side don't have to be operational, i.e. they may be permanently tilted in one direction. For example in an optical correlator or in a transversal filter, it is often known which beams require which delays, so a fixed (non moving) micromirror array may be used.
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|U.S. Classification||359/223.1, 359/900, 359/201.2|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S359/90, G06E3/003, G02B17/004, G02B17/023|
|European Classification||G02B17/00C, G06E3/00A1, G02B17/02D|
|Jun 12, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:RABB, DAVID J.;REEL/FRAME:019416/0222
Effective date: 20070510
|Sep 22, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4